Showing posts from August, 2015

Who Are the Monks and Nuns of the 21st Century?

Today I finished rewatching the miniseries Pillars of the Earth (based on the great book by Ken Follett) with my wife, and afterward I was struck by the following idea:

In medieval western Europe, monasticism was an important part of many communities, and a large number of people lived as monks and nuns. Today, however, monasticism is virtually nonexistent in much of western Europe, and most everywhere else plays a much smaller role in society with a much smaller number of adherents, at least as a percentage of the population. 

Are there institutions and vocations that hold a prominent place in our world today that will similarly shrink from view centuries from now? There must be. In a sense, I am wondering—who are the monks and nuns of the twenty-first century?

I don't have an answer to this question; I just thought it was interesting to consider. Who knows what sort of shifts in our social structures and career paths might occur centuries from now, or what organizations and profes…

Three Days of Stockholm Tunnelbana Travel

I have a thing with metro and tram systems. My fascination really grew serious in Strasbourg, where I ended up visiting all of the tram stations within the first month of my college semester there. I then turned my focus back onto the metro in Washington, D.C., and I created a map to track my travels on it during my senior year at Georgetown.

A few weeks ago my wife and I went on our honeymoon (nearly a year after our wedding) and visited Sweden, Norway, and Iceland together. Our first stop was Stockholm, and we bought ourselves 72-hour passes for unlimited travel on the Stockholms Lokaltrafik network. Mostly, we used the Tunnelbana ("tunnel rail") metro system. Here's the map of where we went:

Stockholm is a beautiful city, and using the Tunnelbana was an awesome way to get around it. The map above may not look that impressive, but I think we definitely got our money's worth from the 72-hour cards, and saw much of the center of the city, as well as some of the outsk…

Safeway O Organics Tea Irony

My wife and I love the O Organics peach oolong tea from Safeway, and we have for a few years now, but this passage on the new label for the tea is pretty rich:

"Doesn't it feel good to know where your food comes from?" Yes, definitely—but there's absolutely no information on the label as to where this tea or its ingredients come from! You just reminded your customers that they like having more information, O Organics and Safeway, but then you gave us none of it. What a disappointment.